Chicago Cubs vs. Florida Marlins Preview, Thursday 5/19, 6:10 CT: End Of An Era

The Cubs' Wednesday comeback begins: Reed Johnson of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on May 18, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

EN ROUTE TO BOSTON -- As you are reading this, I am on a plane on the way to Logan Airport in Boston (this was the only flight I could get on using miles), getting ready for the weekend series between the Cubs and Red Sox.

The Cubs, however, still have another game to play against a National League opponent before the brief three-game interleague interlude. Somehow, fittingly, they are playing the Marlins for the final time in [Whatever They're Calling It This Year] Stadium before the Marlins move into their new retractable-roof park next year, followed by a trip to Boston.

Sigh if you just had flashbacks to 2003.

Tonight will be the 79th regular season game the Cubs have played in this cavern of a football stadium -- I can say it's one of the three worst ballparks I have ever seen a game in, with poor sightlines, ugly concourses, mediocre food choices and acres of bad seats in the upper level (which are now usually closed off for baseball games). The Cubs have an all-time record of 37-41 there going into tonight's game and will probably be very happy to say goodbye to it forever. (That record doesn't include the 2-1 mark there during the 2003 NLCS.)

And what are the other two awful ballparks? Candlestick Park in San Francisco, which also had a ton of bad seats and, unless you sat in the sun during a day game, was always cold; and the park now called Overstock.com Coliseum in Oakland, where the seats are far away from the action, the concourses are concrete and sterile, and Mt. Davis (the monstrosity built for Al Davis of the Raiders for football games) looms ominously over the outfield.

The Marlins' new ballpark looks pretty nice. I'm sure the Cubs will be much happier playing the Marlins there next year. In the meantime, let's hope they can say goodbye with a win; if so, it would be their fifth straight win in Miami dating back to last year.

Obviously, I can't post the lineups today. Someone please post them in the comments.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
Cubs
vs. Chris Volstad
Chris Volstad
Marlins
1-3 W-L 2-2
7.22 ERA 5.77
18 SO 26
20 BB 14
4 HR 5
vs. Fla -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Casey Coleman 1-3 6 6 0 0 0 0 28.2 36 23 23 4 20 18 7.22 1.95


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Chris Volstad 2-2 7 7 0 0 0 0 39.0 46 28 25 5 14 26 5.77 1.54

This may be Casey Coleman's last chance to stay in the Cubs' rotation, as Randy Wells may be ready to return by May 27, which is the next time the Cubs need a fifth starter after tonight (thanks to Monday's off day). Coleman put up a quality start against the Marlins last September 18 in Miami, although he did issue four walks. Command has been Coleman's biggest problem this year, too.

Chris Volstad was defeated by the Cubs on May 12, 2010 at Wrigley Field. Remember the guy who started against him that day? Volstad also walked four in that start. Lifetime he has a 3.41 ERA in five starts against the Cubs; this year he's been pretty bad, so far.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Florida. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Marlins site Fish Stripes. Go say hello. They seem a little lonely over there.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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